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Family issues warning after local 11-year-old dies playing the choking game

This article courtesy of – Used here with permission.

IDAHO FALLS — It’s been a year of heartache, a year of pain and a year wondering why for Curtis McAbee’s family

On Sept 6, 2016, Becky Mix was sound asleep when she was jolted awake with a phone call informing her of a real-life nightmare taking place at her brother’s Idaho Falls home.

“My mom got a phone call at about 2 o’clock in the morning and my sister-in-law was just hysterical,” Mix tells “Her oldest son had gone in to tell her middle son his music was kind of loud and found him passed away from playing the choking game.”

The choking game, also known as the fainting or pass out game, refers to intentionally cutting off oxygen to the brain with the goal of inducing euphoria and temporary losing consciousness.

Curtis, who was 11 years old, had a dog’s choke chain around his neck. It’s believed when he passed out, he fell forward which resulted in the tightening of the chain.

“With as tight as it had gotten, he was gone within two minutes,” Mix says. “Even if somebody would have gotten him right away, it probably wouldn’t have been enough time to stop the end result.”
Emergency responders arrived and Curtis was pronounced dead. The coroner ruled his death as an accident.

His family had never heard of the choking game and immediately tried to figure out how their boy, who loved to swim, ride his bike and play at the park, learned about the deadly practice.

“From what we found out, this all started when another child said I dare you to do this,” Mix says. “We think it might have only been a couple of weeks that he was doing it but within that two weeks time, we ended up not having him anymore.”

It’s unknown how many people within the past few years have died from the choking game, but in 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 82 deaths nationwide between 1995 and 2007.
The choking game has been around for decades and many educational groups have been formed to address the issue.

After Judy Rogg’s son, Erik, died playing it in 2010, the California mother decided to do something.